St. Louis, MO
Posted - 02/02/2011 : 7:04 PM
We had not only had reader's post a link but the actual job description for H-D's search for a Manager, Rider's Edge Instructor Operations a few days ago. I don't know if you all read it, but you can find it in the comment section under what is happening in Tennessee.
The job was posted 2/7/06.
Interestingly, the job posting says the "affiliated network of dealer contracted, Harley-Davidson certified field instructors...is expected to grow to well over 1,000 within the next few years."
Hmmm, let's see, there are currently only about 93 dealerships offering RE across the entire nation listed on their website. And according to their 2004 Financial Report, RE trained a total of 18,427 students.
Let's see how that compares to a state program: Rob Gladden said there are 430 CA instructors and that the CMSP trained 50,315 students in 2004 which averages out to 117 students per instructor.
So if H-D has a 1,000 instructors, are they planning on training up to 117,000 students a year?
From less than 20,000 a year to well over 100,000 "within the next few years".
What amazing growth.
Strike anyone else as a little odd?
Especially since H-D RE registration depends certain factors:
1) there aren't far too few spots available in the state program so people are willing to pay far more for RE.
2)If there is a price differential of $100 or less between the state program and RE.
Only then does registration really pick up in the H-D RE and only then do more dealers start offering it.
That hasn't happened, yet, in many states. And the states where it has happened it happened after H-D uses lobbyists and/or bills.
But clearly, if they're expecting RE to grow that rapidly, they must have a reason to believe that suddenly students are going to be taking not the state program but RE. It would be so nice if they would share their reason with us.
But if they really are going to grow that fast, they really do need a Manager just for Instructor Operations!
And if they are hiring now, when they have no need, I guess that will just make the manager's job very easy right now.
Because, of course, H-D RE, like any good American Corporation where growth is slowing is very pie in the sky and hires someone now for a job that may be needed in the "the next few years".
I guess that's why H-D is such a class act.
And this new position will "Provide leadership, direction and guidance to internal and external instructor groups to ensure success of Rider's Edge business objectives and quality in the delivery of Rider's Edge operations."
It raises these questions:
H-D RE has been a fairly tough sell to dealers across the country. After all, they haven't cracked 100 sites across the country since it started up. In many states, H-D isn't offered, in other states, H-D doesn't have the driver's license waiver or can't charge the $350 $400 that they want to.
So why, oh, why is H-D so confident that they will have need of 1,000 instructors in the next few years? What is going to change that there will be a need for this great workforce and a manager to keep them in line?
These are good questions. I would suggest MRO activists and state program administrators start thinking about that.
But there's another question they should be asking because it will affect them:
From where will this workforce come?
You see, to work for H-D RE, you must *already* be an M$F certified instructor. H-D RE does not currently train instructors from scratch.
No, it's the state programs that train instructors.
The states who do not charge instructors for training.
Because the state pays for the training.
Or rather, the motorcyclists in that state pay for the instructor's training through the fees on license/registration.
So what does it cost, you state administrators, to train an instructor? My guess is at least $1,000 for the initial training and then costs for "upkeep" so to speak ones, I presume even H-D RE instructors will have to attend on the state program's dime.
So, in every state that state trained instructors go to work for H-D RE, how much does that dealer pay to the state for that training? Not a penny. Nor does the Motor Company.
Do motorcyclists really think it's an appropriate use of their fees to train instructors for H-D's use? Especially considering that H-D tells its stockholders that RE is a marketing plan a means to sell more H-D product.
So can anyone explain to me why the state's motorcyclists should pay for instructors to be qualified to work for a H-D dealership?
Especially when their own programs may not be well enough funded and they already struggle, in some states, with having a large enough instructor core and to expand to meet demand?
But what's in it for the state program to train instructors who are going to work for H-D?
Otoh, H-D is getting a free ride on the state's expense - or, rather, the motorcyclists' expense.
The instructors have to go through state training because tha's the only way they become M$F certified.
And that's the only thing H-D RE requiresnot that the instructor be in good standing in their state program. Just with M$F.
The instructors, though, have no obligation to then "work out" their training by teaching in the state program. It's expected but there are no demands - after all, the instructors, though paid, are doing a service to the program and go above and beyond all the time. If they don't teach, in some states, they are no longer in good standing with the statebut still can be with M$F, if they teach at H-D RE.
The newly minted, freshly certified instructors can go over to teach at H-D RE, because the state programs don't say they can't - and why would they? That would be acting as if it's all about money instead of about service. And it IS about service not money for most instructors.
But there is money involved, of course. RE pays far more than the state programs. So does T3RG. (And, state administrators, just how much do you think H-D will pay this manager of instructor operations? Less than a state MSP employee makes - the same - or more?)
So what's the harm in working for H-D RE on the side or just working solely for them? It's not that they *won't* teach for the state program. Some just *dont*. Some dealers even say their instructors are supposed to teach in the state program 2 classes a year. Even if they did, then that means the instructor would only have to teach 24 in the state program.
Not that they'd be fired if they didn't. But they're supposed to.
Then again, what's going to happen to them if they don't? You say, "bad, bad instructors! You're supposed to be teaching for us!"? And risk alienating the instructors altogether?
And the H-D RE "New Rider Course Instructor Candidate Packet" makes it clear the instructor doesn't have to have a damn thing to do with the state program - except get them to train you for free.
Ain't it grand? We get to pay part of the bill for H-D's marketing plan! Such a deal.
But not to worry - they only want 1,000 instructors in the next few years. So far.
And that brings up that earlier question - why is H-D so confident that they will need so many hundreds more instructors soon that they must hire a manager to work with them?
What does CEO Ziemer know that we don't?
Hell, what does H-D Human Resources know we don't?
Well, maybe we don't need to know. After all, the last words in the Manager, Rider's Edge Instructor Operations job posting is that the candidate must have "a high tolerance for ambiguity".
You don't say.